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News digest 28 July 2017

Don’t miss the week’s industry headlines with Fluid Thinking’s round-up of news from the world of fleet.

Government bans new petrol and diesel vans and cars from 2040

The sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 as part of the government’s £3 billion plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government wanted to help the car industry “do the right thing”.

Motoring experts said the government’s clean air strategy could create “more problems than it solves”, while campaigners said the plans do not go far enough to tackle health problems.

The plan stopped short of bringing in a full scrappage scheme to encourage people to give up diesel cars proposing a “targeted” version to incentivise certain groups of people, such as those on low incomes.

European roads ‘better’ than UK roads, say British motorists

The majority of British motorists believe the roads in continental Europe offer a far more enjoyable driving experience than UK highways, according to a survey.

More than two-thirds of drivers (69%) said they think the condition of motorways and major roads is better in continental Europe than in the UK, while 64% believe traffic congestion is not as bad abroad, according to research conducted by RAC European Breakdown.

A further 61% believe local roads in European countries are maintained to a higher standard, while more than half (53%) of drivers think roadworks are better managed overseas compared to the UK.

Many respondents also believed the quality of motorway service areas and other rest areas, such as the ‘aires’ in France, are better in other EU countries.

But the UK did fare well for its easy-to-understand road signs (with 30% of drivers saying they were better in the UK, compared to 10% elsewhere in the EU) as well as roadside information for drivers advising of delays (26% agreed the UK did this well compared to 17% in the rest of the continent).

Charity calls on government to increase stopping distances in the UK

Stopping distances in the UK Highway Code should be increased, say a road safety charity.

Brake, a charity that campaigns for greater safety on the roads, has called on the government to increase the distance after new evidence found drivers’ thinking time has been underestimated.

The new research by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) found the time taken by car drivers to perceive, recognise and react to emergency situations was longer than 1.5 seconds − more than double the 0.67 seconds set out in the Highway Code.

This means that average total stopping distance − including thinking and braking distance − is an extra 2.75 car lengths (11 metres) at 30mph and an extra 3.75 car lengths (15 metres) at 40mph compared with the distances used in the Code. This difference rises to an additional 6.25 car lengths (25 metres) at 70mph.

‘Uber for trucks’ gets funding injection

“Uber for trucking” logistics company Convoy moved a step closer to shaping out a meaningful slice of the long-haul trucking industry in the United States after receiving a funding boost.

Convoy, a Seattle-based startup founded two years ago, have received over $60 million in investment for their on-demand platform that uses mobile apps to connect shippers with trucks.

The company is setting out to build “the world’s largest network of reliable trucks,” by unseating traditional trucking brokerages with new technology.

Convoy’s app allows truck drivers to find cargo and shippers to find empty lorries using an automated process dictated by algorithms, which also determine the price for each load.

The $62.5 million investment was led by Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund with other notable investors including Bill Gates’ Cascade Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, and the founders and CEOs of Dropbox, Instagram, and eBay, and others.

Convoy’s latest portion of funding takes its total equity financing past the $80 million mark.

Convoy CEO Dan Lewis said: “Ask any shipper or truck driver about their business and they’ll point out a dozen things that could run better.

“Technology is changing this. Now people are excited about the possibilities for innovation. Convoy’s mobile app and automated brokerage raise the bar for service reliability and reduce wasted miles — increasing revenue and improving operations for everyone involved.”

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